Professor Harry Butler is obsessed with the Mind/Body problem. Unfortunately, this is not the least of his problems. Harry's wife has turned his study into a sufi shrine where she sits crossed-legged and chants for hours on end: 'I am not this body..' And Harry doesn't know it yet but the Drug Squad have taken up residence in his kitchen so as to observe the movements of his neighbours and their visitors. Among these visitors, photographed by the Drug Squad, is one of his oldest friends. And living next door is a woman Harry may have had an encounter with in Singapore. The University is no escape from these complications on the domestic front: Harry's relationship with a student is causing concern among the Philosophy Department Women's Collective. Some of his colleagues also suspect him of going astray academically. The story takes place in Auckland, New Zealand. But who is telling the story? Why is he in Europe? Why does he keep moving from one city to another, and why does he seem to require the presence of a certain Uta Haverstrom in order to write it?
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C.K. Stead was Professor of English at the University of Auckland for 20 years until 1986. He is known among students of literature as the author of The New Poetic, a study of Yeats, Eliot and the Georgian poets. He has written eight novels and has published ten volumes of poetry and two volumes of short stories. He is the only author to have won the New Zealand Book Award for both poetry and fiction, winning twice for his novels All Visitors Ashore and The Singing Whakapapa. In 1984 he was awarded the C.B.E for services to New Zealand literature and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His latest novel, Talking about O'Dwyer, will be published by Harvill in 2000.From Kirkus Reviews:
A witty romp through New Zealand academe--with metafiction and mystery joining hands in the picaresque adventures of Professor Harry Butler, obsessed with the Mind/Body problem in more ways than one. Stead (Sister Hollywood, 1990) sets his latest mainly in Auckland--a place of great natural beauty but subject to all the contemporary concerns of the wider world. Harry, head of the philosophy department, is dogged by the department's Women's Collective (``like nuns in the old days they always come in pairs''). Plus: his wife has found a guru, who now preaches Sufism; the police are using his house to watch a drug-smuggling neighbor; and Harry's mistress, graduate student Louise, wants commitment. The story is told, or rather assembled, by an anonymous writer who could be Harry but may be simply a friend who writes in European cafes, where he drinks black coffee, chats with the proprietors, and, once he's met Danish Uta, acquires an instant critic and adviser. When Harry sees old friend Jason visiting the alleged drug-dealers next door, he warns Jason and also tips off Mandy, who's the mistress of one of the dealers and with whom Harry once had an affair. Harry is soon in more trouble: Louise is unhappy; the police are angry; and his wife is meditating. Finally, when Harry and journalist friend Phil find Jason, a man of mystery, murdered, the drug connection is cleared up--but, meanwhile, a letter of Harry's to Louise has fallen into the hands of the Women's Collective. Damning excerpts appear all over before Harry is miraculously rescued from disgrace. And the writer leaves Europe and Uta behind. An amusing, clever, and agreeably literate portrait of a hapless Lucky Jim sort. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Harvill Press, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. new edition edition. 224 pages. 8.43x5.35x0.79 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk1860467547